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Gaming, music and TV to drive mobile market

Mobile TV alone to generate €4.7bn by 2010

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Mobile content is set for a revolution, with gaming, music and TV all poised to transform the market in the next five years.

With regulatory and competitive pressures pushing down the average consumer spend on voice and messaging, Screen Digest mobile analyst David McQueen advised mobile operators to look to new content offerings to deliver the business growth they've enjoyed over the past decade.

"Screen Digest believes the revenue is out there - and operators should be looking to TV, music and games to deliver it."

According to the research carried out by Screen Digest, mobile TV is set to be the winner in the battle of the services, generating €4.7bn in revenue from 140 million subscribers by 2011. This is despite the fact that mobile TV is currently only available in a handful of markets.

The service has its detractors, with the principle grumble being the small size of the handsets, and the speculation that consumers won't be happy watching TV on miniature screens. However, the services have taken off in Japan and South Korea, where just under six million people watch broadcast mobile TV, and in Italy, where broadcast mobile TV services have already signed up close to half a million subscribers in only a few months.

Meanwhile, Irish operators are also getting in on the act with Vodafone launching a mobile version of Sky channels on its 3G services, Three Ireland winning a licence for DVB-H broadcast mobile television service and O2 also trialling a similar service.

Screen Digest said the revenue potential of mobile TV is also significantly greater than games or music, with simulcast channels - simultaneous broadcasts of conventional TV programming - expected to be a popular choice among viewers.

However, it may throw up some new regulatory issues, with some debate over whether the new services will require users to purchase a separate TV licence to traditional broadcast equipment.

Mobile music is also set to explode in popularity over the next five years, with global over-the-air full track music downloads expected to be worth €1.47bn by 2011. This represents an eight-fold increase from 2006. Screen Digest has identified the availability of subscription services that offer more than audio tracks as a major contributing factor to this growth.

The digital music market in general is currently undergoing a revolution, with new services offering digital-rights-management-free music rumoured to be in the offing. How this will impact on the mobile music market remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Screen Digest says the mobile games market will be worth €2bn by 2011, up from the current €1.6bn. Although the market has been around the longest of the three, it is expected to grow slowly over the next five years, compared to its music and TV rivals.

McQueen warned the mobile games market is at risk of stalling unless current business models change and adapt as operators concentrate on music and TV services.

Copyright © 2007, ENN

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